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Viewing: MAE 4980W winholtzr : Senior Capstone Design - Writing Intensive

Last approved: Fri, 16 Dec 2016 20:30:39 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 16 Dec 2016 20:30:39 GMT

Proposal Type

Writing Intensive

Contact Information

Campus Writing Program
Are you submitting this proposal on behalf of an instructor?
Instructor for whom you are submitting proposal:
Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
Subject Area’s Department Chair/Director:
Mechanical & Aerospace Engr

Term for Proposal

Spring 2017

Course Catalog Information

Mechanical And Aerospace Engin (MAE)
Mechanical And Aerospace Engin
Senior Capstone Design - Writing Intensive
Senior design experience. Topics include reliability, safety, manufacturability, economic, and environmental constraints; design case studies; and industrial design projects.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
Grade of C- or greater in MAE 3600, MAE 3900, MAE 4500, MAE 4900 and STAT 4710 or IMSE 2110; Restricted to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students only.

Instructor Information

Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
(numbers only)
Tenured Professor
Yes, in the last five years

Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
(numbers only)
Tenured Associate Professor
No, instructor has never attended

El Gizawy
Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
(numbers only)
Tenured Associate Professor
No, instructor has never attended

Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
(numbers only)
Tenured Professor
No, instructor has never attended

The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
Indicate below if additional instructors are planned, but specific individuals have not yet been chosen. Check all that apply

Briefly describe the qualifications of the known graduate instructors, or planned qualifications if graduate instructors are still to be selected, bearing in mind that graduate students teaching honors courses should be advanced students with a record of excellent teaching.

Honors Course Information

Answer the questions below as they would apply to one section. For all other sections, provide similar information in the Additional Sections Information box below.



Writing Intensive Course Information

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department (MAE) proposes to satisfy the campus requirements for six hours of writing intensive (WI) course credits for graduates with assignments distributed through its entire curriculum. The requirements will be met within eleven required courses taken by nearly all our graduates, the exceptions being transfer students who sometimes transfer in credit for one or more of these courses. Accommodation for these students meeting the campus WI requirements will be handled separately. Students will receive their WI credit in two courses near the end of the curriculum, MAE 4800 Thermo-fluids Laboratory and MAE 4980 Capstone Design.

The motivation for moving to a curriculum satisfying the campus WI degree requirements rather than through individual courses is twofold. First, the increase in our student population and corresponding large class size has made running a WI course difficult. Teaching Assistants in engineering are not experienced enough to be able to help much with large sized classes. By moving to a distributed curriculum satisfying the WI requirements, we better share the WI instruction with the whole MAE faculty rather than putting it on the few teaching the WI courses.

Secondly, a great deal of writing is inherent and present in our curriculum. This writing is primarily design project reports driven by our accrediting requirements through the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET wants to see design work throughout the curriculum. This is often best accomplished by open-ended design projects where students develop a design to satisfy requirements given for the project. The resulting design is usually summarized with a design report which utilizes the writing styles of the profession. Design projects are also consistent with “addressing a question for which there is more than one acceptable interpretation, explanation, analysis, or evaluation” one of the WI requirements, as will be discussed later.
Self paced?

Should this course be considered for funding?
Large Enrollment Courses:
We admit 100 students per semester to the curriculum. Not all complete the curriculum, thus we estimate 95 students in a course. We have distributed the WI requirements for 6 hours of WI credit among eleven courses so that any one faculty member has a reasonable amount of WI instruction and grading to do.
Each course with WI assignments will have them examined by the course instructor.
Little involvement of GTA in grading WI work.

Writing Intensive Assignments

See attachment
All distributed curriculum assignments in attachment.
Length of assignment:

Total pages for all assignments:
First drafts:
Assignments consist of the following types:
Design Project Report/Memo
Engineering Report
Bi-Weekly Reports
Lab Report/Memo

Design Project and Engineering Reports are written summaries of the results of students’ work on an assigned project. They will introduce the problem assigned, outline the solution methods, present and discuss the final results, and make recommendations based on the results. These problems are usually open-ended, meaning they do not have a unique solution and solutions are iteratively improved. Several different solutions are possible and the students must explain how they arrived at their solution and justify it. The students work in groups and should learn to be part of a team in solving problems. The engineering accrediting body, ABET, wants to see open-ended problems and teamwork throughout the curriculum and group projects like those discussed here are a good way of doing this.
• Students learn to establish context and background for presenting their problem and solution.
• They must present their analysis in a concise and accurate manner.
• They must then discuss and elaborate on their solution explaining its advantages, disadvantages, and why it was chosen over other solutions.

An example from MAE 3200 Engineering Materials would be to ask the students to design a test to prove that a pressure vessel for an aerospace application can survive 10,000 pressurization cycles without fatigue failure. The report will explain the test procedure and how it provides proof that the vessel is safe from fatigue failure in the designated lifetime. An example from MAE 3900 Mechanism Design would be to ask students to design a mechanism that will make a metal Truman the Tiger statue raise his arms signaling a touchdown when a crank is turned on his back.

Memos are shorter versions of reports with simpler formatting. The problems will be smaller in scope and take less time to complete. Instead of being a full report, the students’ solution will be in the form of a technical memorandum that gives their solution. This is a commonly written document in the discipline.

Lab Reports and Memos are reports of experiments performed in laboratory classes. They help students learn how to properly report experimental data in various forms such as tables and graphs. Students must also report the analysis done on the raw data and then draw the proper conclusions from the data.

Bi-weekly Reports used in the capstone course are draft sections of the large final report for a semester-long project. They are used to keep the students on track and focus on different aspects of a large project through the course of the semester. They are later incorporated, with revision, into the final capstone project report.

Microthemes are short (one-half to one page) written responses to a question posed by the course instructor relevant to the material being covered. They will force students to contemplate a theory or principle. Microthemes will allow an instructor to get beyond teaching how to compute something and encourage students to deal with what a calculation means, its consequences and ramifications. An example microtheme in MAE 3200 would be to ask students to compare and contrast the use of the concept of stiffness in describing a material and its properties and in describing a component and its properties.

Writing Intensive Teaching

Instructor provided feedback
Another ABET requirement is that our graduates demonstrate the ability to work in teams or groups as this is the most common way of working in the profession. Thus we have a large number of group projects. To evaluate individual student’s contributions to the group writing projects, a form will be used asking students to evaluate each other’s’ contributions and leaving room for instructor evaluation as well.
Two of the revised assignments are an Engineering Report in MAE 3200 Engineering Materials and the Capstone Design Report in MAE 4980 Senior Capstone Design. Both of these assignments deal with engineering problems for which there are not unique solutions. Students must explain the methods or choices they have made and justify them. These problems are open-ended and have multiple solutions. Solutions must balance competing constraints. Students must explain the choices they make in satisfying constraints. In the capstone course, in particular, students will be working on a problem that has not previously been solved, a new engineering design. An example would be that a design is desired to be strong, light, and inexpensive. In most cases only two of these qualities can be achieved in a single design.
Instead of being distributed through a semester, the writing is distributed among five or more semesters of the students’ work on a Mechanical Engineering degree.
It will vary by course. Typically exams, quizzes, and homework scores.

Course Syllabus

Upload Course Syllabus

Administrative Information

Natural and Applied Sciences


Additional Comments

The MAE distributed curriculum was approved last academic year. I'm duplicating this proposal to ensure we have appropriate records. Please note that the attachment includes all WI assignments in the sequence.

Note to registrar: Please use the following section/instructor matches:

4980-1: Yuyi Lin
4980-2: Ahmed El Gizawy
4980-3: James Thompson
Jonathan Cisco (CiscoJo) (Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:15:28 GMT): Added MAE Distributed Curriculum Attachment.
Patricia Luckenotte (luckenottep) (Fri, 16 Dec 2016 20:30:23 GMT): i have added MAE 4980W, sections 01, 02 and 03 to the Spring 2017 Schedule of classes and cancelled the regular sections of MAE 4980. MAE 4980, 01 was crosslisted with ENGINR 4890, 02. I have added ENGINR 4890W, 01 to replace the regular section. Students that were enrolled in the regular section, have been moved to the Writing Intensive sections.
Key: 663